The Hollow Men

Posted: December 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 45 Comments »

We beat Dallas.  Yay.

The stinkin’ Jets went belly up on us and got killed by the Giants.  Mark Sanchez is dead to me.  I will ruthlessly cheer against him until he’s out of the NFL and is just doing GQ ads.  Tom Brady went and got the rings, then the hot wife and pretty boy stuff.  Mark…ugh.  Thanks for nothing, GQ.

And Rex.  Shut your friggin’ mouth.  Shut. It.  Period.  You have earned the right to not say another damn word.  Period.

As to our beloved Eagles…I was almost very happy.  Any long time reader will know that I have lusted after a few things, but a shutout is very high on the list.  We last had one in December of 1996 vs the Giants.  Since then, close a few times, but no cigar.  Today we shut out Dallas for 59 1/2 minutes.  I was so close to being a happy man.

And then Casey Matthews made a poor block in punt protection.  A Dallas rusher came free and deflected the punt.  Dallas got the ball at the 16 and scored a couple of plays later.

Death of a dream.

I started the day with delusions hopes of making the postseason.  That got killed quickly so I next wanted a win.  About halftime I started to let myself dream of a shutout.  The longer things went, the more I started to believe.

I watched the game with family (non-Eagles fans who are now pretty frightened).  They kept assuring me the Eagles would get the shutout.  I told them that the Eagles would find some insane way to blow it.  And a blocked punt with :30 left…that’s insane.  That’s the Eagles.  They hate my soul.  They don’t want me to experience the joy of a shutout.  This is so Dickensian.  The book practically writes itself.  Woe is me.

We did beat Dallas and I’m happy about that.  Sweeping the Boys is good.  Knocking Tony Romo out of the game is good.  I’ll try to make do with that.

What could have been a great day turned out so hollow.  No playoffs.  No shutout.

The upside…Derek Landri got a sack and played well.  And we’re one step closer to Luke Kuechly.  That dream is alive and well.

Merry Christmas from me, Megan, Landri, the Little Ball of Hate, and Luke.

45 Comments on “The Hollow Men”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 8:48 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I was so hoping for a shut out. My wife was calling for me to come upstairs. I said, “30 seconds dear” with such sheer delight. And then…

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 9:00 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    Right there with you bro. So, so close.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 9:12 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    12 seconds. 12 freaking seconds.

  4. 4 ToastJenkins said at 9:33 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I kid you not, Tommy. As i was sitting at the bar watching the game out of town – when we came on to punt with 21 secs left my thought was “At least Tommy will get his shutout for Christmas”…oops

  5. 5 Steve H said at 9:39 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    Sanchez played such a pitiful game today, the saddest part is he had a running game that was abusing the Giants for the first half and he still couldn’t do diddly with it.

    USC quarterbacks man, they get exposed to that hollywood shit way too early, start to think they don’t have to work for it.

  6. 6 Dewey said at 10:06 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I dunno Tommy, I’m much more Bullish on Courtney Upshaw at the LB position than Luke. Some one to definitively set the strong side edge and be a viable blitz option.

  7. 7 James Coe said at 5:49 AM on December 26th, 2011:

    I would’ve thought Upshaw would do better in a 3-4 where he can get more action as a pass rusher

  8. 8 Corry Henry said at 10:31 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I’m happy to sweep the Cowboys this year. I wanted that shut out more than anything, but I’ll settle for 2-0 vs. the ‘Boys and Jerrah.

    So do we sit starters next week and see what the young guys have or go for .500?

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 11:26 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I would love to see Kafka get some playing time. Same goes for a few of the younger guys, but most of them can be rotated in throughout the game. I just don’t think there is much to gain by seeing Vick dominate the redskins (and that’s a best case scenario), and I think seeing what Kafka can do would be nice going into an offseason where we will clearly need to pick up at least one QB.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 11:14 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I dunno. I understand that getting the shutout would have been nice, but for me, looking back on it would have come with an asterisk. We would have to remember the game as “the meaningless shutout.” Maybe I am hoping for to much, but if we are going to get a shutout, I want it to be in a game that I can remember being happy about, not a game where we had been already knocked out of the playoffs.

  11. 11 Mac said at 12:09 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    You know… that’s a pretty good point. Even though, I would argue the Cowgirls didn’t really miss Romeo.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 7:16 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    That, and that the cowboys could have easily kicked a field goal previously on 4th and 7 near the goal line. The asterisk was in my mind from that point forward.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 11:17 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    Does this mean Juan had shown enough to deserve another shot? I have a feeling Spags is gonna hit the market. I sure Laurie doesn’t pass. A Vet DC would put this defense over the edge. I did however like how the Asanteless Corners looked. DRC is a force when he’s allowed to play press. And I think Rolle and Mathews are starting to come around. They could be outside guys surrounding a stud MLB. Chaney, Clayton and Jordon are nice compliments but not starters. As Fouku can go away.

  14. 14 Dewey said at 11:31 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    Was that English?

    “I sure”
    “A vet DC”

  15. 15 the guy said at 11:55 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    Looking ahead to the draft (what else is there to do except curse the Jets?), I’m thinking the biggest need the Eagles have after LB may be WR.

    Obviously there’s a good chance DeSean isn’t coming back, and Steve Smith is a near lock to be elsewhere, but Maclin is really the only WR I’ve been happy with all year.

    Chad Hall isn’t nearly enough of an athlete, though I’d probably rather have him returning punts than DeSean based on this season. Riley Cooper still has a shot to be good, but really hasn’t shown me much yet.

    My real problem is Avant. How can a guy who looks as good as he does during training camp disappear so thoroughly at times during the season? His hands looked great this summer, and when the season starts he’s dropping or deflecting passes and fumbling. He’s not especially fast or big. He doesn’t seem like the go-to guy on 3rd down anymore. Only scored 1 TD all season. He had just 2 games this year over 80yds receiving and both were losses. He had 2 or fewer receptions in 8 of 15 games; 3 or fewer receptions in 10 of 15 games. He will make an occasional big catch in a key moment, but obviously not enough to win a lot of games.

    Honestly, looking at the WRs on the roster [not named Jeremy Maclin] is the best argument for keeping DeSean. And even then I think they should look at getting a WR fairly high in the draft.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 4:38 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    Dwight Jones would be a pretty darn good target for Vick.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 10:28 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    A likely 2nd rounder and the earliest we’d probably look for a WR.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 11:56 PM on December 24th, 2011:

    I think Castillo saved his job over the past few weeks.

    It was nice to see DRC perform to expectations. I feel safer about next year without Samuel.

    Last time the Eagles had a shutout was 24-0 over Giants @ the Vet in 1996. I even asked Reuben on twitter about halfway through the 4th qtr.

    And Merry Christmas to you as well, Tommy. Thanks for all the posts throughout the year.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 12:08 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    Isn’t DRC an Unrestricted Free agent? At least Asante is under contract, DRC will want the bank.

  20. 20 Gary said at 12:39 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    Is he? I thought he had another year or two.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 12:39 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    DRC has one more year on his contract I believe.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 1:07 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    Yes, under contract for $1.1 million next year, a major factor in why we traded for him.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 8:45 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    I think the best scenario is one that people have outlined earlier – moving Castillo to something like a LBs coach (he seems to have figured out how to use them) and bringing in a real DC. The D has played well, but it hasn’t been against the cream of the crop. Even after the last three games (vs. Matt Moore, Mark Sanchez, and Stephen McGee, btw), does anyone feel confident that Castillo’s gameplan wouldn’t be ripped apart by Brady, Brees, Rodgers, or even Philip Rivers on a good day?

    My biggest fear is that the FO makes more out of the last few games than they actually should. The Dolphins are not a good team; the Jets are clearly streaky and we caught them at the beginning of a bad streak (as the Giants game showed). Again, we clobbered the Cowboys who were playing in a meaningless game to them, and also without their 1st or 2nd string running backs, or their starting QB who has been on a 6 or 7 game hot streak. Who thinks Jason Garrett called a real gameplan yesterday, putting his good plays on display for the Giants to pick apart next week?

    This latest “win” is effectively the 3rd week of preseason – a lot of starter play, but entirely meaningless.

    All that being said – it is still progress on the defensive side. Not enough to make me feel comfortable with Castillo running things, but enough for me to feel like he can be trusted with some things on the defensive side. Especially like figuring out our LB situation, which is saying quite a bit.

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 12:41 PM on December 25th, 2011:

    When Marty was sacked by Detroit he arrived here and was given a specialist offensive role/assistant head coach, while Brad remained the Offensive Coordinator, I can’t see why that wouldn’t happen again with Spags IF he is released and IF he want to come here.

    Merry Blighty Christmas to all.

    PS, Mmmbop has some responsibility for the 6 points. I don’t find it difficult to see why any DC started DRC at the slot CB for so long. I feel it safe to say he has one more game left as an Eagle.

  25. 25 Ace said at 10:26 AM on December 26th, 2011:

    That’s along the lines of what I see happening. We know Andy is loyal and can suspect that he feels Juan wasn’t “put in a position” to succeed from the snap.

    Bringing in a credentialed veteran coach as Assistant Head Coach/Defense or whatever would be the right move from a managerial/personnel vantage if he thinks Juan can get the job done (and he’s made no indication otherwise).

    The inverse is also possible -but less likely- to bump up Juan to the Assistant Head Coach title and bring in another defensive mind to be DC.

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 1:12 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    That’s also an interesting idea, although who would buy it?

    Juan I don’t think is in position to refuse any proposed move if he wants to stay in the NFL, but the fans and Philly media would call any move to assistant HC a sham, which it more or less would be. If he’s becoming a roving motivator and consultant, he might as well be called a quality control coach.

    BL: Who cares what the titles are, if we can add Spags or any great defensive mind, we should.

  27. 27 Mac said at 12:10 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    It’s a shame the best team in the NFC East will not be in the playoffs this year.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 1:15 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    It’s a shame they didn’t play like a division-winning team, or up to the level of most of its talent. Even after the 1-4 start there were chances to get to .500 at 4-4 and 6-6 and they are just now getting there. Digging the three-game hole meant they had no margin for error, then they went and lost to the Cardinals. You can get away with that if you’re 5-3 but not 3-5.

    The Eagles got what they deserved this year. If anyone deserves to be division games, given all the preseason turmoil they endured, it’s the Giants.

    I agree the good Eagles would be the threat to go the furthest in the playoffs, but I don’t think it’s a shame they lost 8 games and aren’t going. I think it’s a shame they didn’t win 10 or 11 games like they could have.

  29. 29 Mac said at 2:30 PM on December 27th, 2011:

    The most heartbreaking aspect for me was the early season red zone ineptitude.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 10:07 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    Let’s not get distracted blaming the Jets from the fact that Andy completely failed. Already I see the delusion of the last couple of weeks setting in. This is a bad football team headed in the wrong direction.

  31. 31 Anders Jensen said at 5:37 PM on December 25th, 2011:

    They was a bad team, but the current team is playing very good and would be dangerous in the playoffs, just sad the good team showed up to late

  32. 32 Anonymous said at 1:19 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    I don’t agree with either of you. This is a bad team with a talented core. It’s a team that brought in a lot of talent and looked lost and confused in key parts of several games, but really only had its ass kicked twice.

    I don’t buy into this “good team showed up too late” stuff because the Eagles at 3-4 had a reprieve and could have saved their season then. And instead they lost in consecutive games to the Bears and Cardinals. They had their chances, and considering the crappiness of the division, it was wide open for the taking.

    All that said, though they lost eight games, they really aren’t too far from being very good. I actually think this core, humbled and hungry and not believing it’s a [nickname that shall never again be spoken] could come back off this offseason, with three high-pick rookies in the fold, and crush.

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 10:32 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    Merry Christmas Sir, and thanks for the many fantastic posts throughout the year. Go Eagles 99 and 2012!

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 11:24 AM on December 25th, 2011:

    Merry Christmas, Tommy. And merry Christmas community of Those-Who-Understand.

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 7:05 PM on December 25th, 2011:

    You must mean those of us who don’t say, “Happy New Year.” We say, “Wait ’till next year.”

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 9:45 PM on December 25th, 2011:


  37. 37 Anders Jensen said at 5:13 PM on December 25th, 2011:

    I really loved seen DRC out there, on the deep throw there ended with a holding penalty, you could see his size, speed and athleticism in play

  38. 38 Anonymous said at 7:44 PM on December 25th, 2011:

    Merry Christmas! I didn’t get the playoffs that I wanted, but my mother promised me Luke Kuelchy instead.

  39. 39 Mac said at 9:56 AM on December 26th, 2011:

    Odd thought…

    Do we need the Giants to get into the playoffs this year?

    If Spags is fired, and if we want him to replace JC as DC, then we may *need* Coughlin to retain his job up in NY. Even if we don’t demote JC to pick up Spags… there is no way I want him back with the Giants.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 1:20 AM on December 27th, 2011:


  41. 41 Anonymous said at 11:05 AM on December 26th, 2011:

    This was never a bad football team, look around the league and you can see lots of bad teams, the Eagles for example are clearly superior to both the Cowboys and Giants.

    The Eagles are a good team that didn’t have time to jell due to the lockout and simply made too many mistakes on offense (turnovers), they struggled on defense to start the season but still should have been 4-2 going into the bye week. The last ten games, they’re giving up 18.6 ppg and 306 yards per game, that would rank them 5th in both points and yards in the NFL. You can denigrate any opponent, but a 10 game sample is a pretty significant sample, and Miami is a good example, they played well on offense the two previous games and the two games after we played them, yet we shut them down in Miami.

    Fans tend to overreact, but good franchises understand there will be off seasons and keep their cool. Ravens had their share of off seasons the last decade, but never “blew it up.” There is no reason for the Eagles to make major changes again, they have a veteran core that has played together, Juan has obviously grown into the job, the OL has meshed. If this season reminds me of anything, it would be 2007, when they underperformed as McNabb struggled to come back off the ACL and the big play offense was exposed. 2008 they struggled until they put in the ball control offense, the OL got healthy, and the defense jelled. They didn’t make a lot of big changes in 2008, DeSean at WR, Asante as the big FA, Bradley stepping in his 2nd season at MLB. One 2nd rd pick, one big money FA, one 2nd year player stepping up.

    Point is it’s never as good or bad as it looks, a couple plays and they’re 9-6 and win the division and are considered up there with GB and NO going into the playoffs. They’re 3rd in yards and 8th in points scored on offense, despite injuries to Vick and Maclin’s terrible off season, a new blocking scheme, etc. They should be a top offense next year. We’ll see how much of the defensive improvement is a mirage, but there has been real improvement, they’re now ranked 8th in yards allowed per game despite an awful start.

    They have some age, but not too much, they have the draft picks to continue to build young depth, and Howie does have an eye for “street” talent – Mathis, Landri, Hunt. They don’t need drastic changes, upgrade MLB, find a veteran SLB, depth at DT, CB and OL, figure out how to deal with DeSean (sign or trade, in which case you sign a veteran WR in a deep FA class). The real key will be to use a full off season to get everyone on the same page in 2012, and send Vick to Clearwater for sliding lessons.

  42. 42 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 11:32 AM on December 26th, 2011:

    Excellent post! You always seem to make fair and ‘cool’ comments about the team!

  43. 43 Anonymous said at 12:25 PM on December 26th, 2011:

    Good call on the improved D although I would’ve prefered a tougher test down the stretch here (like a healthy Romo, Murray and Felix in for the whole game). Still, it’s obvious to see the D has improved, playing faster, together and with more passion. I would only add an additional S to your list of improvements.

  44. 44 Miguel de Maria said at 12:51 PM on December 26th, 2011:

    I always enjoy your optimism and reasoned analysis. The thing that bugs me is the redzone performance on both sides of the ball. It’s like being a golfer who can’t putt–makes it hard.

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 1:24 AM on December 27th, 2011:

    I agree with you in theory; somewhere on this board I wrote that there’s a thin line between 6-10 and 10-6 in the NFL, and the Eagles could have very easily been either this year.

    Maybe this is a semantics gripe, but “This was never a bad football team” I’m not sure is totally accurate. They are a talented team that played below its talent level and made mistakes at crucial times in games. They certainly weren’t a good football team most of the year, even though they had a lot of good players having individual success.

    I look forward to the day when the Eagles are again a good football team. I very firmly believe an offseason overhaul is unnecessary, but improvements must be made. I like the core talent. I want them to next season play to up it.